Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

Consequences of a government that doesn’t work.

with 3 comments

So I’ve been thinking about the consequences of the filibuster and the administration’s apparent belief that an 18 vote majority makes them powerless to achieve anything. Since there is no chance that the Democrats are going to get 60 votes again in the Senate any time soon, apparently the Democrats have to dramatically scale back our agenda.

Thus cap and trade is probably dead, the public option is long gone, and worst of all EFCA appears dead, even after solemn promises from Obama.

So I’m wondering: why should anyone participate in midterm elections? I don’t mean that in some nihilistic, immature way, but as a realistic question. The Democrats won’t be able to pass anything whether they have 50 or 59 votes. But, of course, the flip is true as well: it is extremely unlikely that the Republicans will ever get close to 60 votes in the Senate anytime soon either, so they’ll never be able to pass anything either. The stakes seem much much lower. And, of course, this holds for the House as well, since the House of Representatives can be 2/3 Communist and it won’t matter, as long as Joe Lieberman gets to Filibuster whatever he wants.

Presidential elections, I suppose, still matter, since they have control over all sorts of regulatory agencies, and have the power to start immoral and illegal wars. But Congressional elections? Doesn’t seem like it.

Now I’ll probably keep voting, since I think of it sort of like recycling (it’s probably pointless, but my liberal guilt makes me do it). But if I were a union who was deciding between spending my money electing a senator or organizing new members, or an environmental group deciding whether to focus on Washington DC or some local initiative, I don’t see why I would worry about making sure there are 55 rather than 54 Democratic senators. What possible difference could it make? In fact it’s a criminal waste of your members’ money to try to elect Democrats to a body that has decided it cannot achieve anything.


Written by Peter Wirzbicki

February 2, 2010 at 21:41

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Reason to vote: Things can get a lot worse. I know it’s aggravating that things aren’t getting done. But if people like you don’t vote, the Republicans could take over Congress. Remember the impeachment of Bill Clinton? According to the Daily Kos recent poll, 39% of self-described Republicans think Obama should be impeached now. His offense??? This isn’t pie-in-the sky, it could really happen if they control Congress. It did happen to Bill Clinton. The more real Dems (not blue dogs) we have in Congress, the better our chances to get something good passed. Frustrating as it is, patience is needed. We have to keep pushing for better candidates, can’t give up.


    February 3, 2010 at 10:28

  2. Call me a Paranoid (but don’t call me paranoid and don’t mistake me for a pessimist) but without a doubt the System is not only unsalvageable but it really was never meant to work in the first place, at least not work in the way you and I and We had/have always assumed it was meant to work.

    That’s pretty the situation here. The way the constitution and early legal precedent are written/were established, the System’s working more than it is failing. That’s the twisted part. The way the gov’t was structured and the values behind it, it would be very easy to make the case it has almost worked brilliantly. Not to say perfectly or ideally, but if you go back to who the people were that had power when forming these structures and precedents, well, OF COURSE we have what we have…it all goes back to that awesomely fatal flaw known as the American Dream.


    February 3, 2010 at 12:11

  3. To be clear about this, I don’t think any Founding Father would have voted for Campaign Obama (or Grass Roots Obama, or the President We Hope He Actually Is). Not one. I think the best of them, if they were alive today, would be Bill Clinton types, and we all know that’s really nothing so great.


    February 3, 2010 at 12:18

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